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The punch initially just knocked Pepey backward, but a moment later the full extent of the pain registered in his brain and all over his face. The message it conveyed might best be summed up as: We’re done here.
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This was the beginning of the end for Pepey (13-6 MMA, 5-5 UFC), who collapsed soon afterward and lay on the mat clutching his gut as Bektic (12-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) added just enough follow-up blows for referee Kevin MacDonald to move in and call it off.
By then, Pepey appeared to be beyond caring about defending his face. Such is the effect of a well-placed body shot.
It’s Bektic’s first win since he wound up on the wrong end of a dramatic comeback victory by Darren Elkins last March. That upset gave Bektic the lone loss on his pro record, so he needed to get back in the win column here against an unconventional and unpredictable striker like Pepey.
Turns out that hammering a guy in the sternum is a good way to slow him down. It might also prove to be a good way of getting a bonus on an otherwise lackluster undercard.
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